With case rates increasing 47 percent since Thanksgiving, the California Department of Public Health will require universal masking to increase protection against COVID-19 to individuals, families, and communities during the holidays.
In an announcement made Monday, Dec. 13, officials with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said they continue to monitor COVID-19 data in order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians. Since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by almost half (47 percent) and hospitalizations have increased by 14 percent. In response to the increase in cases and hospitalizations, and to slow the spread of both Delta and the highly transmissible Omicron variant, CDPH has issued updated guidance to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.
Beginning Dec. 15, CDPH will require masks to be worn in all indoor public settings irrespective of vaccine status through Jan. 15, 2022, at which point California will make further recommendations as needed in response to the pandemic.
Additionally, CDPH updated requirements for attending mega events, like concerts and sporting events. Prior to attending an event, attendees will now require either proof of vaccination, a negative antigen COVID-19 test within one day of the event, or a negative PCR test within two days of the event.
CDPH also issued a new travel advisory, effective immediately, to recommend that all travelers arriving in California test for COVID-19 within three to five days after arrival, regardless of their vaccination status.
“Our collective actions can save lives this holiday season. We are already seeing a higher level of transmission this winter and it is important to act now to prevent overwhelming our busy hospitals so we can provide quality health care to all Californians,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “All Californians should get vaccinated and receive their booster. Getting your whole family up to date on vaccination is the most important action you can take to get through the pandemic and to protect yourself from serious impacts from the virus and its variants. Testing and masking remain important tools in slowing the spread. Vaccines and these temporary measures will allow friends and families to safely spend the holidays together and will add critical layers of protection to keep people safe.”
The California Department of Public Health also released the most recent statistics on COVID-19 and updates on the state’s pandemic response. The most up to date data is available on the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard.
Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are largely occurring among unvaccinated populations. Statistics show that unvaccinated people were 7.1 times more likely to get COVID-19(data from Nov. 21 to Nov. 27); unvaccinated people were 12.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 (data from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20); and unvaccinated people were 13.0 times more likely to die from COVID-19 (data from Nov. 7 to Nov. 13).
California has had 4,886,509 confirmed cases to date and there have been 74,685 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. COVID-19 claims the lives of 51 Californians each day (average daily death count over seven days).
The recent emergence of the Omicron variant emphasizes the importance of getting a vaccine, booster, and taking prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19. As of Dec. 12, there have been 24 confirmed cases associated with the Omicron variant reported to the state. This number will be updated weekly with the other variants California is currently monitoring on the CDPH Tracking Variants webpage.
The risk for COVID-19 exposure and infection continues as a number of Californians remain unvaccinated. Real-world evidence continues to show that the vaccine is preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. With the combination of colder weather keeping people indoors, the waning of vaccine and natural immunity, and more mingling among non-household members, public health officials urge Californians to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible to help prevent a possible winter surge in COVID-19 cases.
It is recommended that every vaccinated adult 18 years or older should get a booster as long as they received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago or they received their Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.
Vaccination appointments can be made by visiting myturn.ca.gov or calling 1-833-422-4255. The consent of a parent or legal guardian may be needed for those under age 18 to receive a vaccination. Visit Vaccinate All 58 to learn more about the safe and effective vaccines available for all Californians, ages five and up.